The COVID-19 outbreak is impacting businesses globally in many ways including temporary business closures, staffing issues and supply chain interruptions.
Numerous Government authorities and private companies are extending a hand to small-business owners navigating the coronavirus crisis.
Here are the resources and assistance to help your small business respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Support for your business
In response to the economic impact of the coronavirus, the Australian Government has, so far, introduced several stimulus packages to assist small and medium businesses. Here’s the key information you need to know.
$130bn jobkeeper stimulus was announced on March 30th providing a safety net for companies whose business has sharply declined with payments to keep staff.
Who is eligible : Eligible employers include businesses in private enterprise (including sole traders) as well as not-for-profits and charities, with:
Turnover below $1 billion that estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 30% or more when compared to the same period last year, or
Turnover of $1 billion or more that estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 50% or more when compared to the same period last year.
How much : $1500 per eligible employee per fortnight
Read more here
JobKeeper (Phase 2):
From 28 September 2020 until 3 January 2021
$1200 per fortnight (for full time employees) or $750 per fortnight (for part time and casual employees)
From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021
$1000 per fortnight (for full time employees) or $650 per fortnight (for part time and casual employees)
Who is eligible:
30% turnover decline for businesses with annual turnover less than $1 Billion
50% turnover decline for businesses with annual turnover more than $1 Billion
The change during the extension period is that businesses need to be re-tested (through attestation with ATO) at the end of the September 2020 quarter (for the July – September quarter), start of January 2021 (for the October – December quarter) and end of March 2021 (for the January – March quarter).
Read more here
Increased instant asset write-off
Increased instant asset write-off : The Government has increased the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 31 December 2020.
Read more here
On 25 March 2020 Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled a new government scheme coined JobMaker, that aims to help the Australian economy reset for growth. Find out more here.
Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond. Directors will have relief from any personal liability for trading while insolvent for six months.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will help owners and directors of businesses that are struggling due to the Covid-19, including temporary reduction of payments or deferrals, or withholding enforcement actions.
Find out more here.
Boosting cash flow for SMEs
What it is : Credits that businesses will receive in their business activity statement system
Who is eligible : Businesses and not for profits with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million that employee staff
How much : $20,000 - $100,000 (split payments)
When : For quarterly BAS lodgers, first credit will be applied to activity statements from 28th April 2020. For monthly BAS lodgers, first credit will be applied to activity statements from 21 July 2020 and then monthly for 3 months after that.
Read more here
State wise support for businesses
New South Wales
Payroll Tax Waiver: Waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months (the rest of 2019-20). This means these businesses will save a quarter of their annual payroll tax bill in 2019-20.
Fee Waiver: Waiver of a range of fees and charges for small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies.
Business support Grant : Until 30 June 2020, a Small Business Support Grant of $10,000 is available for small businesses and non-profit organisations who have experienced a 75% decline in revenue as a result of COVID-19.. Read more for information on eligibility and how to apply for the grant
Small business recovery grant :
When : From 1 July 2020
What it is : A Small Business Recovery Grant of up to $3,000 is available to help small businesses (fewer than 20 employees) recover from COVID-19.
Who is eligible: Eligible businesses and not-for-profits must meet a range of criteria as at 1 March 2020 including having an ABN registered in NSW, total Australian wages below the NSW Government 2019-20 payroll tax threshold of $900,000, fewer than 20 full time equivalent staff, an annual turnover of more than $75,000 and are in a highly impacted industry.
Businesses must also have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 30% from March to July 2020 compared to the equivalent period last year, and have costs from 1 July 2020 associated with safely re-opening or scaling up their business.
Applications open : 1 July 2020 until 16 August 2020
Read more about this grantor more information on eligibility and to apply for the grant
Payroll Benefits :
- Full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year for SMEs with payroll below $3 million. This will save eligible business up to $113,975 a year, with the average business saving $23,000.
- Businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021.
Rent Relief Package:
- $500 million rental relief package including a six-month ban on evictions and rent increases and tax relief for landlords. As part of this, small businesses with an annual turnover of under $50 million that have been hit with 30% or more in revenue reduction because of coronavirus can also be granted rental waivers or deferrals.
- Commercial tenants in government buildings can apply for rent relief
Business Support Fund
$500 million Business Support Fund, which will support businesses in hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail.
As a result of the return to Stage 3 lockdowns from 8 July 2020, various support packages are available for SMEs
One off Business Grant :
How much: One off $5000 grant
Who is eligible: Businesses that are operating within a postcode affected by the return to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions They must be currently registered to pay GST, have an annual payroll of less than $3 million and hold an ABN.
Application information : Applications for the program are available until 31 July 2020.
Read more here
Mental health support for SMEs
- $26 million investment by the VIC Government in mental health support aimed at business owners
- $10 million business mentoring program, pairing small-business owners with experienced professionals who can help them navigate their way through the crisis
Payroll Tax Deferral : Affected businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can defer their tax liabilities for the first half of the 2020–21 financial year
Read more about other incentives here.
A further $3 billion support package was announced on 13 September 2020:
Cash flow support
- $1.1 billion in cash will be granted to support small and medium sized businesses that are most affected by coronavirus restrictions
- Around 75,000 eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million will receive grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 depending on their size.
- Grants of up to $20000 will be available to businesses in Alpine Resorts to help cover their resort fees.
- Grants of up to $20,000 will be made available via chambers of commerce and local business groups to small businesses so they can help their members adapt and find their feet in COVID-19 World.
Waivers and Deferrals
- $1.7 billion to defer the payroll tax for businesses with payroll up to $10 million for the full 2020-21 financial year.
Read more about other incentives here
Payroll Tax Relief: SMEs with payroll up to $6.5million will be eligible for a 2-month refund of payroll tax, plus a 3-month payroll tax holiday, saving an average of $13,360. SMEs will be eligible to defer all payroll tax payments for the rest of 2020.
Rent Relief : Relief for businesses renting government premises.
Rebate on electricity bills : $500 rebate on electricity bills for all Queensland SMEs that consume less than 100,000 kilowatt hours. This will be automatically applied to electricity bills.
Queensland Government second stimulus: From 1 July 2020, the QLD Government opened Round 2 of its Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program to promote jobs for regional small businesses located outside of South-Eastern Queensland. Eligible businesses must have been subject to closure or otherwise highly impacted by shutdown restrictions announced by Queensland’s Chief Health Officer on 23 March 2020, experienced a minimum 30% decline in revenue since 23 March 2020 over a minimum 1-month period, employ fewer than 20 staff at the time of applying for the grant (employees must be on your payroll and does not include the business owner(s)), have a valid ABN as at 23 March 2020 and be registered for GST, be headquartered in Queensland, have an annual turnover over $75,000 for the 2018-19 or 2019-20 financial year and have a payroll of less than $1.3m. Click here for more information on eligibility and how to apply for the grant.
Cash flow Grants : One-off grant of $17,000 for small businesses with payroll between $1-4 million.
Payroll exemptions : Businesses with payroll below $1 million will be exempt from payroll tax from 1 July 2020.
Payroll Tax Deferrals : Businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak may also be eligible to defer their payroll tax payments until 21 July 2020. This option is available to employers that pay up to $7.5 million in taxable wages, which have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Read more here
The State-based $12 million skills package will see small businesses receive up to $5,000 for every new apprentice or trainee hired on a paid training contract as part of the Skills for Business scheme.
Read more here.
Payroll tax waivers, fee waivers for certain licenses and leases applicable to small businesses, employment incentives and interest free loans for small businesses in certain sectors such as hospitality, tourism, sea food production and export.
Read more here
Business Survival Fund :$50 million Small Business Survival Fund, offering grants to small businesses to adapt to changed trading conditions. Details yet to be announced.
Business Improvement grant : All Territory businesses will be able to access a $10,000 Business Improvement grant, followed by an additional $10,000 grant if they contribute $10,000 of their own.
Payroll Benefits: The payroll tax exemption for hiring Territory employees has been extended to 30 June 2021.
Read more here
Australian Capital Territory
Payroll benefits and deferrals : Businesses with payroll of up to $10 million can defer their 2020-2021 payroll tax payments, interest free, until 1 July 2022.
Fee waiver: 12-month waiver of all food business registration and on-licence liquor licensing fees, from 1 April 2020.
Rebates on electricity bills : Electricity rebates of $750 for businesses with electricity usage below 100 megawatts annually.
Read more here
Building business resiliency and taking care of your team
Learn how to maintain relationship with your customers, employees and suppliers
Google Resources and Support to keep your customers and employees informed
Tech against coronavirus list to work and learn remotely.
Forbes guide on how to manage your team
Experience Management platform Qualtrics, owned by SAP, is offering free access to Remote Work Plus, to help you assess the wellbeing of your remote workers.
Maintaining your and your business health during crisis
Department of Health information on coronavirus COVID 19
ASFBEO resources to get your business and your health back on track
Video on How best to wash hands
Free tools and resources
Hootsuite, the social media management platform, is offering free access to its professional plan until July 1st.
LinkedIn has made 16 LinkedIn Learning courses available for free, including tips on how to stay productive, build relationships when you're not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools, and balance family and work in a healthy way.
For businesses with fewer than 50 employees, Freshworks is offering free and unrestricted use of its customer engagement tools, Freshchat and Freshcaller, for the next six months.
Mailchimp, an email marketing tool, is offering its current eligible customers with up to 3 months of free service.
Google is supporting SMB’s with over USD 340 million worth of credit, which can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across our Google Ads platforms.
Facebook is offering USD 100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. Applications will be open soon, so keep your eye out.
Xero has collated accounting tips for managing your business and personal cash flow.
We're here to help and support your small business
We will update this page regularly to provide you with most up-to-date information.
Please let us know if you need finance for supporting your business during this uncertain period.